Friday, 30 July 2010

Time in the Garden

Being adult and taking on the house has in this case also meant taking on the garden as well, it is a huge project and would have not been possible without the wonderful help of a very dedicated person. (Who shall be known as Mel on here.) Today is a great achievement as today the gravel is done!

You see the front garden used to be lovely with fantastic rose bushes which were known to bloom even in snow. However years of neglect and some harsh winters turned the front (and back for that matter) garden into a state. Now for a while Mel has been working on the front garden in her spare time. She is the one responsible for getting it to the current state and I have arrived in time to help get it finished off. (The sooner it was finished though the sooner we start on the back together.) One of the main bugbears of this project has been the gravel, as it's easy maintenance when set up, however it not the simplest of things to put together.

For starters the area needed clearing of not only all the plants, but also the roots, and then a rather large amount of soil needed shifting too. At a guess about a ton has gone from the front as it needed levelling and bringing down a few inches as it was too high along the wall of the house, as that can cause no end of damp issues. This was mainly done back in April, where my visit with my wonderful boyfriend proved timely to help shift a large chunk of that soil. Since then the garden has been transformed by Mel, who put down all the weed membrane, sorted out the boarder gravel and potted all the plants; some flowers, some herbs and some experimental things. However the paths that run along the in-between the two flowerbeds that separate the house from the front hedge were a collection of gravel that was here more than twenty years ago and subsequent top ups. Yet there was no weed membrane underneath, and being run down there was all sorts of things mixed in with the gravel. The hair clips I understand. The odd bottle cap or two? Around here fair enough. Yet the amount of glass? I realised that passers by must have really been using our run down front garden as a rubbish bin. So to save money on getting more gravel Mel started to sort through it. This was a very time consuming and long job, one that was driving her slightly insane.

As I have now taken over the running of the house and garden I decided that enough was enough, sorting was going to take far too long, and we are running out of summer months. Some shopping around later, and a quick phone call to a local supplier a ton of gravel is delivered for an extremely reasonable price! Me and Mel then set to work finishing off the paths! This was still back breaking as the gravel was placed on the driveway and the gate to the garden is up the hill...yet a lot of spade and wheel barrow work later the paths were laid.

The sense of achievement enough justifies paying out a little bit of money that I did that and saving our sanity, as sorting out that gravel was a little wearing. :)

Now it's time to move onto the side of the house and then to start clearing the back garden, most of which is being started next week while I am away sadly. Yet as always there is always something to do, I am just ecstatic that at least one part of the garden now looks more like a garden should do. :)

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Settling In

The months roll on and I never seem to have time to do everything. Which is worrying seeing as I am not working or studying at the moment...I wonder how I'll fit everything in when I start working and studying again? Although I always say that and I always find a way somehow, after some trial and error that is.

Right now though it has been a busy couple of months, and I haven't spent nearly enough time near or on a computer doing my own thing. Other than the usual quick drop into the social network sites I belong to I haven't really been online. There has been so much to do with all the moving around!

I did manage to fit all my belongings into the removal van in the end, with plenty of room to spare actually. (Though I think that may have changed now as I have acquired some more appliances and furniture since moving.) It was an interesting journey down as well, we were travelling slowly in the old van so instead of the usual four hours it took just over six, that was with a few stops to stretch legs on the way though.

After the long journey we really did just dump all belongings into the house as the van needed to go back and my sisters new car needed picking up. It was then the week long job of unpacking everything. The first day of which didn't go too well as I got very grumpy and stressed, yet due to the amazing sister and fiancés I have the house started to feel and look like a home soon enough. Yet that week feels like a lifetime ago now as there has been so much going on or happening in-between. I went back to my old flat to clean up a bit and see a few people then I was back on the train home, yet before I could even make a dent in my nice new proper bed I was off to the middle of no where to help my sister move. She has a new job that is rather exciting and cool (something to do with lasers and physics) and she now lives in the countryside. Which meant a small little flat and nothing open on Sundays. (Also no internet!) I ended up staying with her a couple of days to help her settle in, but also to chase up and doing shopping while she was at work as everything shuts about 4pm before she can get back. It is a lovely little village she lives in though, wonderfully quiet and so far friendly helpful people, the library especially was very nice and a good internet source. :)

An hour on the train and I am back home, though this time I am now void of a cooker, a fridge and a freezer through one thing and another. So storing and preparing food became interesting for a few days, and if it weren't for the helpfulness of some other tenants here I would have been very hungry! Yet there is always something to do around here, and I have spent a lot of time on the house, popping into town, pottering about in the garden and trying to unpack the last few awkward boxes. Even though I don't really know anyone up here it has been nice to have some time to myself and see family a bit more. (Including my best friend and her family, as I have known them all my life.)

Yet I still am finding it hard to find time to work on some of my personal projects. Which is slightly vexing, but at least this time I know it is not down to my own lack of motivation and lethargic feeling that seemed to be a permanent cloud over me in my old house, it really now is down to time to do everything now. I suddenly feel all adult and the mortgage isn't even in my name! :)

The thing about blogs...

The thing about blogs is keeping up the habit of writing in them often. Yet also keeping it interesting. Even if no-one is reading it is still nice to personally read back on entries. At least it is for me anyway, as I do write differently when I perceive that someone else might be reading it. I find it helps with what I now know to be my dyslexia, it is more of a symbol based blindness rather than a grammar/spelling one, however these areas can be the ones that suffer due to the amount of work my working memory has to do to ensure that I am translating these symbols (letters) into meaning as I read/type. In other words my brain needs a little more RAM. (At least that's the way I like thinking about it!) :)

Anyway going slightly off topic....I started this blog originally to chronicle my path to my chosen career. Something that has taken a small detour recently with all that has happened at Uni and leaving my city. So maybe that is why I have not had the urge to write or update as much, as I do feel that the blog has lost it's purpose ever so slightly as I have. Yet this detour in my overall plans is part of that journey, I took a wrong path and now I am on my way back to what is hopefully the right one. (This is a repeating problem in my life, I appear to have to do things twice before I get them right!)

So the solution to this? Write about my day, get into that habit of typing up at the end of the day what I have done. It should also serve to remind me that spending the day on the couch taking advantage of Sky TV and all it's channels it not a productive one! I have a small sense of Deja Vu as I type this though, but as this is the second time I might actually get it right this time. That and if I can do this at least twenty times it should become habit. So lets give it a go....some back posting first I think - time to dust off those drafts and actually get them posted! :) Even if it is just for me to read at a later date. :P

Monday, 19 July 2010

VQ Awards 2010

On the 23rd of June I was in London attending the VQ Awards Day at the Royal Horticultural Halls with my sister and fiancé. I had been nominated for the award by City College Brighton and out of 250 people I was part of the 9 finalists in my age group. Making me the South East Learner of the Year for my work on the Games Development course. This in itself was wonderful, and I felt very privileged to think that the judges chose me and my work above all those others.

However on the day after me and the other students there were awarded our certificates the presenter, Arlene Phillips, began to talk about the National Winner for my age group. I'm standing by the side of the stage listening to her speech when my heart starts beating faster as it dawns on me that I remember hearing that speech before at the City College internal awards ceremony....in a state of disbelief I start making my way back to the stage after realising that is it is me that she is talking about, that and the event organisers were waving me over at this point. I am then on stage accepting the National Learner of the Year from Lord Baker and I am then expected to make a speech! I vaguely remember mainly thanking my family, my fiancé and my tutor for all their help and encouragement. That and mentioning that it takes decent teachers to bring out success as you see with me and all the other students here today. (A rare occurrence of my confidence in public there!)

Me with Lord Baker and Arlene Phillips.

The whole experience was a bit of a blur, and then there were photo's afterwards on the stage, after which I took a quick exit to the nearest cafe (all the pubs were busy due to the football) for a big coffee! :)

All the VQ Day Winners. One Industry Insider Award, Two National Awards and 19 Regional Winners.
After a coffee and a little bit of food it was off again to go and visit my colleges PR guy who had arranged for me and Julie (one of the regional winners from my college) to meet Caroline Lucas as the college is in her new constituency. We were to meet her on the lawn area outside the Houses of Parliament where the news reports are usually aired from. She had been in Parliament all morning, trying to get a word in edge ways, as it were. :) She was very friendly and took a genuine interest in both my and Julie's achievements.

Juile, Caroline Lucas and Me.
This made it onto both the City College and Caroline Lucas' websites which is quite cool, I don't think the college was expecting not only two winners from the hundreds that were nominated, but to also get a national winner also...

For me I have to re-iterate how much of a surprise it was, as I also won the Digital Arts Student of the Year for the internal college awards at the end of the year I thought that my awards winning was over and done with by this point! That and I had been doing so badly at Uni that I have ended up pulling out of the first year and changing courses...well I suppose it goes to show that I was not on the right course at Uni really. After having done so well at college to then fail at Uni... I know at the end of the day the two ways of learning are very different, and there is always an adjustment period between college and Uni. I did also aim to do a course that I was not prepared for and wasn't appropriate for my existing skill set.

Overall I am ecstatic to have got such a good start on this chosen career path, ignoring the needed and useful blip that was my first Uni course, the next chapter in my education should prove to be even better. As I now know what I can achieve if I truly put my mind to it, and this day just serves to re-mind me that I must always put in all I can as it certainly pays off.